10 Experiences That Make for Great Gifts

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If you’ve ever given someone what you thought was the perfect gift only to realize a year later that it’s sitting untouched in their closet, you’re not alone. That’s why we’re all for the kind of gifts that create memories, not dust bunnies. There’s something to be said for a gift that gives someone a new experience—especially when it’s a gift that you can enjoy together. Here are ten experiential gifts for every person in your life.

stack of macarons
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1. Chocolate Macaron Workshop

If food is the key to the heart, then this sweet cooking class is breaking down the door. Macarons are notoriously difficult to make, so give your dessert-loving recipient the chance to master them at an expert level with a workshop at Sur La Table. (Psst, class availability depends on the city, and there are tons of other cuisine options if your person doesn’t have a sweet tooth.)

2. Local Tour

People who love to travel are often so focused on other destinations that they forget to explore their very own city. Purchasing tickets to a guided tour that uncovers something cool about their own backyard—like street art, markets or architecture—is a great way for them to discover unique things nearby. Airbnb is a great resource for finding tours and other experiences like this.

3. Escape Room

Want to really put a loved one’s skills to the test? Book them a session at an escape room and see how well they perform under the pressure of a clock. It’s a great activity for groups too. You can find Escape the Room locations across the country.

4. Personal Chef

Have a fancy night in by hiring a personal chef to make your recipient’s favorite cuisine. It’s relatively easy to find someone local who will come to your home and cook in your kitchen for a few hours, and plenty of services like this one help you do just that. Cost-wise, it’s a great option for a group gift to go in on with a few friends.

woman running a race

5. Charitable Race

For your athletic friend who loves to give back, sponsoring them in a charity run is an ideal gift. That way they can do something they enjoy while being a part of something they care about—without any of the financial commitment on their end. And hey, you can even run it together if you feel so inclined.

6. Wine Tasting Sail

If your gift recipient lives near a coast, an evening of sipping varietals on the open water might be in order. Better yet, book a cruise that pairs the wine with light bites and live music, like this one in North Carolina.

7. Zero-gravity Flotation Therapy

Massages are expected. Zero-gravity floating will surprise and delight. Buy your loved one a session at a spa like this one in Washington, D.C., and let them experience the pure relaxation that comes with it. As they peacefully float on the surface of the water, stress, tension and physical discomfort will drift away.

dog paddle boarding
RyanJLane/Getty Images

8. Pet-friendly Paddle Boarding

Sending a dog lover on an adventure with their pooch is a gift they’ll never forget. This stand-up paddle boarding company in West Palm Beach, Florida, offers private lessons and eco tours for you and your pup. Look for something similar in your area; dog-friendly activities are becoming more and more popular.

9. Indoor Skydiving

A great gift for adventurers of all ages, indoor skydiving is safe (and fun) for both kids and adults. Participants work with an instructor to learn how to navigate the simulation tunnel and then they take their flight. And don’t worry, there’s someone photographing the whole thing. Find an iFly location near you; there are facilities all over the country.

10. Pet Painting Class

Hey, people really love their pets. If your recipient is more artsy than outdoorsy, consider a pet painting class like this one in Charlottesville, Virginia, where a professional instructor will help them paint a canvas of their beloved animal to keep for years to come.

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Director, Branded Content

Cristina Polchinski is a director of branded content at Gallery Media Group. She produces sponsored content campaigns across all verticals and platforms, in addition to...